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Whether you realize it or not, your brand has a tone of voice. You may have a hard time identifying it, but you can bet your customers are aware of it. The good news is that you can control and shape this tone – but you better act sooner rather than later.

The Value of Your Voice

The term “tone of voice” typically conjures up thoughts about spoken words and how we speak in certain situations. However, in the case of marketing and branding, it refers to written words – or the words a brand uses on websites, emails, advertisements, social media, and packaging.

“A tone of voice both embodies and expresses the brand’s personality and set of values,” writes Harriet Cummings, freelance writer and content marketer. “It’s about the people that make up the brand – the things that drive them, their loves and hates, and what they want to share with the world.”

Your brand’s tone of voice doesn’t just refer to the words you select, though. It’s also defined by the order, pace, and rhythm of the words. All of these factors come together to create something that’s bigger than the words themselves.

Three Tips for Shaping Your Voice

As a brand, how often do you consider your tone of voice? Don’t be ashamed if the answer is “never.” Many marketers and modern business professionals have been taught to focus too much on the mode of communication and not enough on the words used. If this is true in your situation, it’s time to reevaluate. Here are a few things you need to know about shaping your brand’s tone of voice:

1. Understand Your Audience
“It may seem simple, but it is more important than ever to understand who your audience is and what they expect,” says Lisa Giosi, social media manager for Active Web Group. “Gone are the days when one message fit all consumers. Today’s sophisticated audiences expect there to be a conversation, as opposed to just one-way communication.”Do you know who your audience is? Your audience will shape your voice to a large degree. The good news is that you can learn a lot about how your customers speak and interact by studying what they do and like on social media.

2. Hone in on Your Values
Your audience plays a large role in shaping your voice, but there are also plenty of internal factors that determine the tone you select. Think about your brand’s core values, goals, inspirations, and other important factors. How do you want them to come across in your messaging? In most cases, these elements will coincide with your audience’s preferences, but there can be subtle differences.

3. Study Relevant Examples
One of the best things you can do is study other successful brands and evaluate their tones. You don’t want to mimic what they’re doing, but it can be incredibly helpful to see what they’re doing and watch the consistency they achieve across the board.This resource over at Marketing Land has 20 different examples of effective social media voices. Check out a few of them and see if there are some lessons you can apply to your own brand’s tone of voice.

Do Your Brand Justice

Your brand’s voice says a lot about the values your company stands for and believes in. In order to connect with customers and create meaningful online experiences, you must master the art of crafting and using a compelling voice that does your brand justice. Using the tips in this article, and your own intuition about your brand and its target audience, begin shaping your voice for the future. Your ability to create effective content depends on it.

About the Author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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